Diabetes in Dogs: How It Develops, What to Watch For, and How to Treat It

Diabetes in dogs is becoming a very common disease. It’s not fully known yet what causes diabetes but there are some things that they have found that are connected such as genetics, obesity, chronic pancreatitis, certain medications, abnormal protein deposits in the pancreas, and some autoimmune diseases.

Some dogs are at a greater risk of getting diabetes. Obese dogs are always more prone to getting it, just like people. Female dogs run a greater risk of developing diabetes later on in life when they are around 6-9 years old. Certain breeds are more prone such as Australian terriers, schnauzers, dachshunds, poodles, Keeshonds, and Samoyeds. It’s also very important to get female dogs spayed because the hormones can affect blood sugar levels.

Overweight dog laying down on grass

The top signs of diabetes in dogs are increased thirst, increased urination, increased hunger, sudden weight loss, obesity, weakness or fatigue, thinning or dull hair, cloudy eyes, depression, vomiting, and chronic skin infections. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your vet and get your dog checked out immediately. If you notice these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your dog has developed diabetes, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

The treatment for diabetes varies per pet and how ill they are when they are diagnosed. Some dogs will need to be hospitalized for several days to get them stabilized. Most dogs will need insulin injections, but sometimes a high-fiber diet can also help normalize the glucose in their system.

Once stabilized, your vet will review how to check blood glucose levels at home and give insulin. Sometimes, if you would prefer, certain vets will have you bring your dog in check the blood glucose in the hospital.  It’s good to always give insulin at the same time everyday and feed regular meals in conjunction with the medication.  Try to avoid treats with any glucose in them and get regular blood glucose levels to make sure everything is going smoothly.  It’s also good to check with your vet about exercise and proper nutrition to keep the weight in check.

There isn’t too much you can do to fully prevent diabetes in your dog, but generally proper diet and regular exercise will help with obesity and that can lessen the chances of developing diabetes. If you happen to notice any signs or symptoms or if your dog is already diabetic and not acting right, please contact your vet right away.